Karina LeBlanc

Last updated

Karina LeBlanc
Karina LeBlanc 2013-05-04 Spirit - Thorns-142.jpg
LeBlanc playing for Portland in 2013
Personal information
Full nameKarina Chenelle LeBlanc
Date of birth (1980-03-30) March 30, 1980 (age 39)
Place of birth Atlanta, Georgia, United States
Height 1.73 m (5 ft 8 in) [1]
Playing position Goalkeeper
College career
1997–2000 Nebraska Cornhuskers 80 (0)
Senior career*
2001–2003 Boston Breakers 2 (0)
2004 Montreal Xtreme 1 (0)
2005–2006 New Jersey Wildcats 18 (0)
2009 Los Angeles Sol 19 (0)
2010 Philadelphia Independence 14 (0)
2011 magicJack 1 (0)
2012 Sky Blue FC 0 (0)
2013 Portland Thorns FC 21 (0)
2014–2015 Chicago Red Stars 29 (0)
National team
1998–2015 Canada 110 (0)
* Senior club appearances and goals counted for the domestic league onlyand correct as of September 6, 2015
‡ National team caps and goals correct as of May 31, 2015

Karina Chenelle LeBlanc (born March 30, 1980) is a retired U.S.-born Canadian soccer goalkeeper who played for the Chicago Red Stars of the National Women's Soccer League and the Canadian national team. [2]

Association football Team field sport played between two teams of eleven players with spherical ball

Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.

The goalkeeper, often shortened to keeper or goalie, is one of the major positions of association football. It is the most specialised position in the sport. The goalkeeper's primary role is to prevent the opposing team from scoring. This is accomplished by the goalkeeper moving into the path of the ball and either catching it or directing it away from the vicinity of the goal line. Within the penalty area goalkeepers are able to use their hands, making them the only players on the field permitted to handle the ball. The special status of goalkeepers is indicated by them wearing different coloured kits from their teammates.

Chicago Red Stars soccer team and National Womens Soccer League franchise in Chicago, Illinois, USA

The Chicago Red Stars is a women's professional soccer club based in Chicago, Illinois, who compete in the National Women's Soccer League and play their home games in SeatGeek Stadium. The team was a founding member of Women's Professional Soccer, and played in the league in 2009 and 2010. After leaving the WPS in December 2010, due to financial issues, the team reorganized and joined the Women's Premier Soccer League for the 2011 season. In 2012, the team co-founded and competed in Women's Premier Soccer League Elite, the single year this league existed. In the fall of 2012 the Red Stars with the Boston Breakers and US Soccer, attracted 6 other teams and founded the National Women's Soccer League. Since 2013 the team has been competing in the National Women's Soccer League. From 2015-2018 the Chicago Red Stars have made the playoffs of the NWSL and are the first and only team to do so for four consecutive years.


Early life

LeBlanc was born in Atlanta, Georgia, to a Dominica father (from Portsmouth) [3] and a Jamaican mother, [4] Vans LeBlanc and Winsome LeBlanc, who had temporarily relocated to Atlanta to avoid the dangers of Hurricane David. [5] LeBlanc grew up in Dominica until age eight when her family moved to Maple Ridge, British Columbia. LeBlanc began playing soccer at age 12 and was named one of the top 20 Division I recruits by USA Today in 1997, even though Maple Ridge Secondary School did not have a girls soccer team. She was also an all-provincial basketball player and was voted British Columbia's Most Defensive Player in basketball in 1997. [6]

Atlanta Capital of Georgia, United States

Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. With an estimated 2018 population of 498,044, it is also the 37th most-populous city in the United States. The city serves as the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, home to 5.9 million people and the ninth-largest metropolitan area in the nation. Atlanta is the seat of Fulton County, the most populous county in Georgia. Portions of the city extend eastward into neighboring DeKalb County.

Portsmouth is the second largest town in Dominica, with 2,977 inhabitants. It lies on the Indian River on Dominica's northwest coast, in Saint John Parish. Cabrits National Park is located on a peninsula to the north of town. Portsmouth has its own sea port in Prince Rupert Bay.

Hurricane David Category 5 Atlantic hurricane in 1979

Hurricane David was an extremely deadly hurricane which caused massive devastation and loss of life in the Dominican Republic in August 1979. A Cape Verde hurricane that reached Category 5 hurricane status on the Saffir-Simpson Hurricane Scale, David was the fourth named tropical cyclone, second hurricane, and first major hurricane of the 1979 Atlantic hurricane season, traversing through the Leeward Islands, Greater Antilles, and East Coast of the United States during late August and early September. David was the first hurricane to affect the Lesser Antilles since Hurricane Inez in 1966. With winds of 175 mph (280 km/h), David was the only storm of Category 5 intensity to make landfall on the Dominican Republic in the 20th century and the deadliest since the 1930 Dominican Republic Hurricane, San Zenon, killing over 2,000 people in its path. In addition, until Hurricane Maria in 2017, David was the deadliest Dominican tropical cyclone since the 1834 Padre Ruíz hurricane, which killed over 200 people.

University of Nebraska

LeBlanc attended the University of Nebraska and earned a degree in business administration. She played goalkeeper for the Nebraska Cornhuskers from 1997 to 2000 and became one of the school's most decorated goalkeepers in the history of the program. She was a finalist for the Hermann Trophy in 2000 and named to the 2001 Umbro Select All-Star Classic Women's Elite College Team. [6] She was also a two-time All-Big 12 selection and was named an All-American. [7]

Nebraska Cornhuskers intercollegiate sports teams of the University of Nebraska

The Nebraska Cornhuskers are the intercollegiate athletic teams that represent the University of Nebraska–Lincoln. The university is a member of the Big Ten Conference and the Cornhuskers compete in NCAA Division I, fielding 22 varsity teams in 15 sports. Nineteen of these teams participate the Big Ten, while rifle is a member of the single-sport Great America Rifle Conference and beach volleyball and bowling compete as independents.

Hermann Trophy

The Hermann Trophy is awarded annually by the Missouri Athletic Club to the United States's top male and female college soccer players.

Playing career


Boston Breakers

LeBlanc played for Boston Breakers in the Women's United Soccer Association, the first women's professional soccer league in the United States.

The Boston Breakers was a professional soccer team that played in the Women's United Soccer Association. The team played at Nickerson Field on the campus of Boston University in Boston, Massachusetts.

Womens United Soccer Association professional soccer league

The Women's United Soccer Association, often abbreviated to the WUSA, was the world's first women's soccer league in which all the players were paid as professionals. Founded in February 2000, the league began its first season in April 2001 with eight teams in the United States. The league suspended operations on September 15, 2003, shortly after the end of its third season, after making cumulative losses of around US$100 million.

Montreal Xtreme, New Jersey wildCat

In 2004, she played for the Montreal Xtreme of the W-League followed by the New Jersey Wildcats from 2005 to 2006.

Montreal Xtreme

The Montreal Xtreme were a women's soccer club based in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. They played only the 2004 season in the W-League. The team played its home games in Soccerplexe Catalogna in Lachine, Quebec. The team's colours were blue and white. The team folded after the 2004 season.

The USL W-League was a North American women's soccer developmental organization. The W-League was also an open league, giving college players the opportunity to play alongside established international players while maintaining their collegiate eligibility. The league was administered by the United Soccer Leagues system, which also oversees the men's United Soccer League and Premier Development League. The W-League announced on November 6, 2015 that the league will cease operation ahead of 2016 season.

New Jersey Wildcats womens United Soccer Leagues W-League team

The New Jersey Wildcats are an American women’s soccer team, founded by Vincent Baldino in 1996. The team is a member of the United Soccer Leagues W-League, the second tier of women’s soccer in the United States and Canada. The team plays in the Northeast Division of the Eastern Conference against the D.C. United Women, New Jersey Rangers, Long Island Rough Riders, New York Magic and North Jersey Valkyries.

Los Angeles Sol

In 2009, she was acquired in the first round (fifth overall) of the 2009 WPS General Draft by the Los Angeles Sol. She started and played in 19 regular-season matches for the team, saving 78 of 93 shots. LeBlanc was named to the 2009 WPS All-Star Team Starting XI.

Los Angeles Sol womens soccer team in Carson, California, United States

The Los Angeles Sol was an American professional soccer club that was based in the Los Angeles suburb of Carson, California that participated in Women's Professional Soccer.

Philadelphia Independence

LeBlanc playing for the Philadelphia Independence in 2010 Karina LeBlanc2010.jpg
LeBlanc playing for the Philadelphia Independence in 2010

In 2010, she was selected in the first round (second overall) of the 2010 Los Angeles Sol Dispersal Draft by the Philadelphia Independence.


In August 2011, it was reported that LeBlanc had signed with magicJack [8] and stepped in as goalkeeper after Hope Solo was sidelined with an injury. [9]

Sky Blue FC

In December 2011, she was signed to the Sky Blue FC for the 2012 season; however, the WPS league folded before the season began. [10]

Portland Thorns FC

On January 11, 2013, it was announced that LeBlanc was one of two Canadian national team members selected to join the Portland Thorns FC by way of weighted allocation. [11] On January 13, 2014, Portland Thorns FC announced that LeBlanc had been traded to the Chicago Red Stars in exchange for the 2nd round draft pick in the 2015 NWSL College Draft. [12]

Chicago Red Stars

LeBlanc finished her 2014 season with 76 saves and a goal against per game average of 1.0, in 21 matches; just behind league leaders Alyssa Naeher's 106 saves, and Hope Solo's .90 goal against average.

Because of participation in 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup LeBlanc played eight matches for Red Stars in 2015. At the end of 2015 season, LeBlac called it a career and retired from professional soccer. [13] For her performance in her last professional match LeBlanc was named NWSL Player of the week of week 21. [14]


LeBlanc represented Canada at five FIFA Women's World Cups, at the 2008 Olympics and at two Pan American Games, winning the gold medal with the national team at the 2011 Pan Am Games by stopping two penalty shots in the final. [15] She made her one hundredth appearance for Canada in March 2012 [16] and later that year was part of the Canadian team that won the bronze medal at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Prior to 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup, LeBlanc announced her retirement from international soccer at the end of the tournament. [16]

Coaching career

LeBlanc served as an assistant coach at Rutgers University from 2005 to 2009. She has also served as a goalkeeper coach with the Canadian under-15 national team, and developed goalkeeping clinics throughout the United States and Canada. [7]

Personal life

LeBlanc was raised Roman Catholic but later became a Baptist while studying in college. [17]

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  1. 2015 World Cup
  2. "Canadians Karina LeBlanc, Candace Chapman join Sky Blue FC of WPS". The Globe and Mail. November 16, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  3. "Karina LeBlanc, "From Dominica to Canada"". Dominica News Online. October 31, 2012. Retrieved July 24, 2017.
  4. Canada Soccer player profile
  5. "Karina Leblanc: World Class Goal Keeper". The Dominican. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  6. 1 2 "Karina LeBlanc biography". Karina LeBlanc. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  7. 1 2 "Karina LeBlanc assistant coach profile". Rutgers University. Archived from the original on December 18, 2012. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  8. "LeBlanc joins magicJack, Maron and Rasmussen move onto Sweden". Equalizer Soccer. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  9. "MagicJack riding high into super semifinals". ESPN. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  10. "Sky Blue FC sign Karina LeBlanc for the WPS season 2012". Women's Soccer United. Retrieved November 13, 2012.
  11. "Alex Morgan, Christine Sinclair among first among seven players added to Portland Thorns FC through allocation process". Portland Timbers. Archived from the original on January 13, 2013. Retrieved January 11, 2013.
  12. "Thorns FC acquire second-round pick in 2015 NWSL Draft from Chicago in exchange for goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc". Portland Timbers . Retrieved January 13, 2014.
  13. "LeBlanc Announces Retirement From Professional Soccer". Chicago Red Stars. September 4, 2015.
  14. "RED STARS' KARINA LEBLANC VOTED PLAYER OF THE WEEK; LeBlanC helped the Red Stars earn a point at home in a 1-1 draw". nwslsoccer.com.
  15. "Canada wins gold at Guadalajara 2011". Canadian Soccer Association. October 27, 2011. Retrieved January 16, 2012.
  16. 1 2 Davidson, Neil (May 28, 2015). "Veteran goalkeeper Karina LeBlanc says retiring at home just feels right". The Vancouver Sun . Postmedia Network . Retrieved June 27, 2015.
  17. Ollie Baines (June 8, 2015). "Former Canadian women's goalkeeper, Karina LeBlanc: "Be God Great"". Cross the Line. Retrieved September 20, 2017.